Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to have a longer life in good health & look much younger….

Today's Post: Tuesday, 4-27-2010

Today this study was in several online news sources.

AP had this:

“Bad habits can age you by 12 years, study suggests By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer - Mon Apr 26, 2010

“Four common bad habits combined, smoking, drinking too much, inactivity, and poor diet, can age you by 12 years, sobering new research suggests.

The findings are from a study that tracked nearly 5,000 British adults for 20 years, and they highlight yet another reason to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Overall, 314 people studied had all four unhealthy behaviors. Among them, 91 died during the study, or 29 percent. Among the 387 healthiest people with none of the four habits, only 32 died, or about 8 percent.

The risky behaviors were: smoking tobacco; downing more than three alcoholic drinks per day for men and more than two daily for women; getting less than two hours of physical activity per week; and eating fruits and vegetables fewer than three times daily.

These habits combined substantially increased the risk of death and made people who engaged in them seem 12 years older than people in the healthiest group, said lead researcher Elisabeth Kvaavik of the University of Oslo.

The study appears in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.

The healthiest group included never-smokers and those who had quit; teetotalers, women who had fewer than two drinks daily and men who had fewer than three; those who got at least two hours of physical activity weekly; and those who ate fruits and vegetables at least three times daily.

"You don't need to be extreme" to be in the healthy category, Kvaavik said. "These behaviors add up, so together it's quite good. It should be possible for most people to manage to do it."

For example, one carrot, one apple and a glass of orange juice would suffice for the fruit and vegetable cutoffs in the study, Kvaavik said, noting that the amounts are pretty modest and less strict than many guidelines.”

Added information from the study:

The AFP report on this study had a more restrictive addition to drinking alcohol.

I’ve not seen the actual study.

But the AFP report said that in addition to men not drinking more than 3 drinks in a day and women not more than two in a day, their weekly totals should also average half of that or less, 10.5 for men per week averaging 1.5 per day or less and 7 per week or an average of one a day or less for women.

The weekly total for men is a bit lower than some guidelines I’ve seen. Many suggest a daily amount of two drinks a day is usually OK. And, many people who live to be over 85 and do so in good health drink a bit more than these weekly guidelines.

However, men who drink more than 3 at one time or women who drink more than 2 are more likely to be in an injury accident in a car or not. So, they are more subject to severe stress if the injuries are serious or someone else is hurt. Plus drinking that much may reflect being under stress of enough severity to harm their health.

And, for men at least, they will carry less fat if they drink 10.5 drinks or less a week than if they drink more. (I’ve just cut back from 12 a week to 9.5 because the 3.6 pounds of fat I’ll lose according to one authoritative source is a bit over one fourth of the 14 pounds I set out to lose this year, 2010.)

The other 3 habits, particularly, the next two, clearly do most of the heavy lifting in this effect.

1. Not smoking, or even better, not smoking AND staying almost completely away from second-hand tobacco smoke--have separately been shown to result in far less aging, illness, and death--particularly from HEART and cardiovascular disease—but also from all kinds of cancers, than smokers and those regularly exposed to second hand smoke experience. And, because smoking accelerates aging and harms the skin, heavy smokers also LOOK far older than their age while nonsmokers tend to look somewhat younger than their age.

2. Regular exercise totaling 2 hours or 120 minutes a week or more also has been shown separately to produce exactly this same effect. Runners and those who switched to other forms of interval cardio or vigorous exercise totaling this much time exercising each week or more also were found to live far longer and in dramatically better health than their colleagues in their work who had otherwise similar lives but who did NO exercise at all.

And, since the growth hormone released by strength training, also slows aging, those who include strength training besides the moderate exercise and interval cardio not only maintain their strength and mobility better than those who do not, they also age more slowly.

Lastly, this much weekly exercise, again particularly if it contains both interval cardio and strength training, reduces the risk of heart disease and prevents or improves type 2 diabetes, increases the circulation to your brain, and grows new brain cells. So you are far less likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or become mentally impaired with either vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Fruits and vegetables and their juices to some degree, particularly if they are organically grown, have very similar effects. Eating lots of nonstarchy vegetables is a key to losing excess fat and keeping it off or not gaining it in the first place. (You eat less calories with no extra effort and are NOT excessively hungry if you still eat some health OK protein foods and fats in addition.)

Also many of these foods have nutrients in them similar to the more effective supplements and also protect you from heart and related cardiovascular disease and many cancers. Berries and cruciferous vegetables are particularly powerful in those ways, for example.

4. In addition, people who eat more vegetables and fruits usually eat far less junk food, sugary food, and food containing bad fats, and drink no or far less soft drinks—and/or are more likely to know better than do so.

However, these foods and drinks and refined grains and the foods made from them are proving so fattening and harmful to your health, NOT ingesting them might well test as a strong fifth habit to form or have. People who add that fifth habit to the first four are likely to be less fat and have even less heart disease and cancer and type 2 diabetes—and have even lower death rates.

5. Lastly, a sixth habit to add that has been shown to have similar effects is brushing your teeth properly once a day, flossing your teeth properly once a day, and seeing a dentist and dental hygienist regularly for teeth cleaning and a check up. People who do this keep their teeth, tend NOT to have bad breath, and surprisingly are far LESS likely to develop heart disease, AND they also get fewer other diseases and live longer. Plus they look younger. In some cases they look as much as 20 or more years younger than people who do not.

6. A seventh habit to add that again has similar effects is to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement and the additional supplements that improve or prevent the diseases you might otherwise get.

As our regular readers have seen, some supplements prevent cancers. Some do well at preventing specific cancers. Some lower blood sugar levels that are too high. Some supplements do particularly well at preventing heart disease, particularly when added to these other habits. That includes increasing HDL, lowering triglycerides, doing both of which lowers the amount of small particle LDL in your bloodstream, lowering LDL, lowering high blood sugar, and lowering inflammation. Some supplements help lower high blood pressure. Some supplements are now being reported to help in losing fat and with losing abdominal fat as well. Some supplements also appear to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The four habits they reported on all do work.

So do the three I suggest adding.

And, it’s clear the more of these seven habits you do, the better your health will be, the longer you will enjoy good health and avoid disability, the longer you will live AND the younger you will look.

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